On early Saturday morning, these swimmers dove into outer New Bedford Harbor to celebrate clean water in our community during the Coalition’s 22nd annual Swim.
As of the start of the event on Saturday, swimmers had raised approximately $100,000 to support our work. If you want to support clean water, you can still donate to the Swim until July 15.
Calm, clear waters and bright sunshine greeted swimmers as they gathered at The Edge Seafood Lounge beach in New Bedford. The first swimmers started at 7:15 a.m., and by 9:00 a.m. the final swimmer had covered the 1.2 mile course and arrived at the finish line at Fort Phoenix State Reservation in Fairhaven.
“The event was terrific – no jellyfish!” said swimmer Emilia Crotty, who grew up in Fairhaven and now lives in New York City. She returned to the Buzzards Bay Swim again this year along with her twin sister, Elena, also of New York City. “The water really was pristine.”
Cali Tetreault of New Bedford participated in her first Swim in honor of her grandmother, Jean Bennett, also of New Bedford. Bennett was one of the first Buzzards Bay Swim participants 22 years ago and participated in the event for several years. “I give her a lot of credit for doing it so many times!” Tetreault said after she crossed the finish line.
The Swim drew participants from more than 150 communities in 19 states, including as far as away as Alaska, Arizona, Chicago, and Charleston, S.C. Swimmers ranged in age from 12 to 75.
“The Buzzards Bay Swim is a fantastic celebration of clean water in our community,” said Coalition President Mark Rasmussen. “The fact that nearly 250 swimmers came out this morning to swim across New Bedford Harbor – one of the biggest Swims in 22 years – shows how important our local waters are to people here on Buzzards Bay.”
Steve Johnson of Tiverton, R.I. was the top fundraiser this year, raising $2,625. Christine Parks of Fairhaven raised $2,220 and Bill Muldoon of Mattapoisett raised $2,003. Patrick Jenkin of Bourne was the top fundraiser for a new swimmer, raising $1,565. In addition to the top individual fundraisers, the Red Dory Restaurant of Tiverton, R.I. was the top fundraising team with a total of $3,595.
After the Swim, participants, volunteers and supporters enjoyed a finish line beach party with a pancake breakfast, massage therapists, live music from El Caribe and a live radio broadcast with Michael Rock of FUN 107. The event concluded with an awards ceremony.
“This is probably one of the best swims in the area because the current helps push you to shore,” said swimmer Mel Dyer of Wareham, who participated in her fourth Swim. “Everyone truly believes in the Coalition’s mission, and it’s just fun!”
Lukas Williams of Scottsdale, Ariz. was the top finisher, completing the course in 21 minutes and 36 seconds. Alex Gallant, 18, of Lakeville came in second with a time of 22 minutes and 3 seconds. In third place was Henry Keegan, 14, of Needham with a time of 22 minutes and 48 seconds. The Wheeler Watershed Challenge Cup for the fastest team went to Team Washed Up (Robert Stringfellow of Foxborough, Jonathan Mariner of Marion, and Max Medina of Marion) with an average team time of 26 minutes and 51 seconds.
The Quicks Awards for the fastest boys youth team went to Apponequet Regional High School (Alex Gallant, 18, of Lakeville, Joshua Beck, 18, of Lakeville and Nicholas Graca, 17, of East Freetown) with an average team time of 23 minutes and 21 seconds. The fastest girls youth team was Metrowest Aquatic Club (Riley Correll, 14, of Dover, Caroline Body, 18, of Dover and Kate Okun, 15, of Wellesley) with an average team time of 30 minutes and 38 seconds. The two teams will each bring a $500 prize back to their school or swim club.
The Buzzards Bay Swim is a Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series Event, presented nationally by Toyota. The Swim is also sponsored by Amica Insurance, Anderson Insulation, Citizens Commercial Banking, Fiber Optic Center, Sungevity, and Whaling City Sound.
The Buzzards Bay Swim is one of two signature outdoor events hosted by the Coalition. The other is the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride, a one-day bicycle ride covering 75 miles from Westport to Woods Hole, with a shorter 35-mile route beginning in Rochester. The ninth annual Watershed Ride will take place on Sunday, October 4.